Ohio Lawmakers Hold Meetings in Preparation of Drafting Sports Betting Bill

Ohio lawmakers on Tuesday hosted two meetings as the first step to crafting passable sports betting legislation. The meetings, hosted by senators John Eklund and Sean O’Brien (D-District 32), left Eklund feeling like lawmakers are on the right path.

“We’re taking the information we gathered at these meetings and the sponsors will get together and see if we can put some meat on the bones,” he said. “We’ll draft a bill and then entertain comments and suggestions, and I’d hope we might have a substantive bill ready to go. If not, we might need some more meetings.”

Eklund is aiming to have an outline done in a couple of weeks and, with any luck, a bill drafted shortly after that. Both the Ohio Senate and House have up to six sessions on the calendar in November and up to seven each in December. The goal would be to pass legislation before the end of 2018, otherwise, a new bill would need to be introduced at the start of the 2019 session.


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Where The Midwest Is at on Sports Betting Legislation

The post Where The Midwest Is at on Sports Betting Legislation appeared first on SportsHandle.

In the first half of the year, midwestern states in general weren’t able to legalize sports betting, but some began to lay the groundwork for passable legislation to be crafted. For Illinois, Michigan and Ohio lawmakers, the summer months were all about learning, negotiating and educating with the goal of finding common ground.

While none of the three states has introduced any new legislation of late, all have the chance to legalize sports betting before 2019, or at the start of the 2019 session.


Read more Where The Midwest Is at on Sports Betting Legislation on SportsHandle.

Greenwood Gaming Second to Apply for PA Sports Betting License

The post Greenwood Gaming Second to Apply for PA Sports Betting License appeared first on SportsHandle.

Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc. is planning to get the most bang for its 10 million bucks.
The gaming operator on Friday became the second to apply for a sports betting license in Pennsylvania, where the licensing application is $10 million. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board made the application public on Monday.
Greenwood applied for the application for use at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, as well as the Philadelphia Turf Club, as an auxiliary location. Greenwood’s application follows the Aug. 17 application submitted by Penn National for the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.

Greenwood Gaming Plans to Offer Land-Based, Mobile and Interactive Sports Betting in Pennsylvania, if Its Application Is Approved.

Pennsylvania has the highest licensing fee in the nation, along with a 36 percent tax rate (34 percent state, 2 percent local) for sports betting. The state legalized sports betting in the fall of 2017 and it took nearly 10 months for the first operator to apply for a license. Pennsylvania has 13 sports betting licenses available, one each for every commercial casino currently operating in the state.
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In its petition, Greenwood states that it already pays the state $250 million in taxes annually from other gaming ventures and that it intends to offer land-based, mobile and interactive sports betting. The company also states that is will offer any and all sports betting allowed by the state. Who will provide integrity and risk management for Greenwood Entertainment is redacted from the public version of the application.
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Greenwood Gaming Second to Apply for PA Sports Betting License

Ohio Lawmaker Wants to School Himself, Colleagues on Sports Betting

The post Ohio Lawmaker Wants to School Himself, Colleagues on Sports Betting appeared first on SportsHandle.

Ohio state senator John Eklund (R-District 18) had an “aha! moment” with regards to sports betting earlier this year.

“At one point, I may have had a preconceived notion” about what sports betting in Ohio would look like, Eklund said. “Like who is going to regulate and what will the tax rate be, but there is much more to this than that.

“The reason we have a placeholder bill is the more I realized the multifaceted nature of this. There are so many permutations on the theme, it starts to boggle a little. We do a lot of legislation that has that kind of feel and flavor to it. … But there are too many people with big brains out there for me to say that I have the answer.”

Lawmakers Aim to Bring Together Interested Parties and Hash Out What Ohio Sports Betting Will Look Like.

And so it was that Eklund, along with Democratic counterpart Sean O’Brien (District 32), introduced a one-line placeholder bill, SB 316, in July, with the intention of starting the sports betting conversation in the Buckeye State. Eklund is hoping that conversation will begin in earnest later this month, after meetings to identify key players.

“Broadly speaking, what I am pursuing is an effort to convene a series of interested party meetings to, well, rather than go after this in a scattershot action, get them to focus on what’s important to them,” he said. “It wouldn’t be the kind of deal where we’d have to rent out Jacobs Stadium or anything, it would be smaller, where we could start taking people’s pulses, getting people’s ideas.”

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John Eklund

The ultimate goal would be to narrow the focus enough to then schedule hearings in the General Assembly to flesh out what sports betting should look like and “craft something with more meat on the bones that we can vote on when we get back after the November elections.”

In the meantime, Ohio has to contend with the idea that it is surrounded by states that have either already made sports betting legal or are actively trying to. Both neighbors Pennsylvania and West Virginia legalized sports betting in the last 12 months, with the Mountaineer State set to see the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races take the state’s first legal wager before Sept. 1.

Kentucky currently has a sports betting working group exploring what sports wagering in the Bluegrass State might look like, while Michigan and Indiana both had sports betting bills in their respective legislatures earlier this year. It’s likely that Michigan lawmakers will move forward with legislation in the fall when they return from their summer recess.

Ohio Is Surrounded By States, Including Pennsylvania and West Virginia, That Have Legalized Sports Betting or Are on the Cusp of Doing So.

Eklund would like for Ohio to do the same thing.

“The idea is, let’s get some of the wrangling and some of that research and some of that opinionating that gets done first and then we’ll have the legislative hearings,” he said. “Does that mean we’ll have a bill that comes out of the Ohio State Senate by the end of the year? I don’t know, but I am hopeful that by the end of the year or the beginning of next year, that we can move forward.”

So, logistically, what will sports betting in Ohio look like? That’s an open question. The state currently has four commercial casinos and seven racinos. It does not have Indian gaming or Tribal-State compacts to negotiate, which ought to make the process of legalizing sports wagering a bit simpler. The state lottery – a potential governing body for sports betting – also already allows Keno in bars and retail locations. So, among the myriad details, lawmakers will have to determine the “where” when it comes to sports betting.

They’ll also have to figure a tax rate and other fees. Ohio lawmakers have gotten a little education by watching the action next door in Pennsylvania. The state legislature there set the tax rate of 34 percent plus a 2 percent local tax and even as the gaming control board has rolled out temporary rules, not a single operator has yet  filed an application for sports betting. The law also calls for a $10 million application fee.

Buckeye State Lawmakers Have Learned From Pennsylvania That High Tax Rates Don’t Fly, But Haven’t Set a Sports Betting Tax Rate as Yet.

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JACK Cincinnati Casino

“I can tell you that everything I’ve seen shows me that the Pennsylvania rate is extraordinarily high and probably counterproductive,” Eklund said. “On the low end, it would go toward prognosticating about what the level of participation would be” at different tax rates.

Another key piece to any sports betting legislation is sorting out mobile and online betting. Eklund is not opposed to either, saying “we all have to recognize at a very fundamental level that the mobile economy and the number of people who live and die with a 3 x 6, half-inch thick device welding to their hand is absolutely incredible.” But he didn’t have an idea of how mobile betting might play out.

All in all, Buckeye State lawmakers appear to be preparing to go to school. And when it comes to sports betting, there is plenty to learn.

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